Free flu shots draw more than 1,500 students

H1N1 concerns and attention result in largest Syracuse campus clinic ever.

UPDATE: The next flu clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15. at Flanagan Gymnasium, beginning at noon until the vaccine is gone. Students should bring their student I.D. and wear loose clothing that allows their upper arm to be exposed.

“Ooooww!” Bryce Shulman yelled as the nurse pulled the needle out of his arm. 

Nearly 150 students lining the basketball court looked over at the 6-foot-tall, third-year film major.

Photo: Daniel Mennuto
Kathy VanVechten, nurse practitioner and associate director of SU Health Services, prepares a vaccination.

“Just kidding,” Shulman said, smiling to the crowd.

Health Services organizers said 1,560 Syracuse University students attended Friday’s flu clinic in Flanagan Gymnasium -- the largest flu clinic the school has ever hosted.

“And who’s next behind door number one?” Susan Kelly asked, as she signaled to the next student in line. Kelly was one of five nurse practitioners at today’s clinic.

“Do you write with your right or left hand girlfriend?” Kelly asked the trembling girl that stood next to her.

“My right,” the girl quietly replied.

“So what year are you? What major are you? And what do you want to do with your major?” asked Kelly. She routinely bombarded the nervous patients with questions to distract them from thoughts of pain.

But the majority of students getting the shot seemed unfazed. Many said they were not worried about getting the flu and even less worried about getting H1N1.

“Nah, I’m not worried about it,” Kathryn Roberts said. “You just have to be smart about it. Like washing your hands.”

“Yeah, wash your hands and do a lot of Purell-ing,” Erin Lavelle added.

Shulman, however, was very concerned. 

“Look at what’s going on on the West Coast and down South,” Shulman said. “I know I’m not invincible, so I’m taking precautionary steps.”

Kathy VanVechten, associate director of Health Services, is advising students to do just that – take precautions.

“The recommendations are to get a shot as early as you can for the seasonal flu, so in case H1N1 does come around, you’ll be taken care of for the seasonal flu and we can focus on H1N1,” VanVechten said.

Students Affairs communications director Carol Masiclat said SU is not estimating how many students will get the flu or H1N1 this year.

“It’s hard to predict because everything varies from university to university,” Masiclat said. “There’s no way to know where people are going and coming back from and if they’ve been exposed to H1N1.”

VanVechten and Masiclat advised students to call or visit SU Health Services for a check-up if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Masiclat said SU Health Services does not administer the H1N1 test, but hospitals in the local area do. SU is looking into administering H1N1 vaccines for students and will notify students when information become available.

More on the flu clinic: 

  • Food Services is providing students with “Get Better Food Packs” that consist of comfort food like microwaveable soup, applesauce, tea, Gatorade, Purell and a thermometer.
  • SU Health Services expects to administer 4,000 flu vaccines this season.
  • For more information on the flu clinic, flu or H1N1, call Health Services at (315) 443-2666 or

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